|Betonsports Chief Executive Officer, David Carruthers, was detained in the U.S. on Sunday and faces a case over taking sports bets in the U.S according to a company statement.|
The group said it had been unable to contact Chief Executive David Carruthers but had seen a U.S. indictment 'alleging various criminal acts against multiple defendants.'
Mr Carruthers, 48, was travelling to Costa Rica when federal authorities arrested him at Dallas airport as he changed planes.
The indictment charges 11 individuals and three Florida-based companies and four businesses including Costa-Rica based BetonSports.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of BetonSports founder Gary Stephen Kaplan, 47.
The US has also filed a civil action, ordering the firm to stop taking any further bets from the US and to return money held in betting accounts of US-based customers.
Shares in online gambling companies slumped after news of the arrest broke.
Shares in Betonsports, which gets most of its business from running a book on sports including American football, and also offers Internet casino games and poker, slid as much as 35 pence to 112 pence in London. Sportingbet, the Web bookmaker that owns Paradise Poker, declined 43.5 pence, or 13 percent, to 280.75 pence. PartyGaming Plc, the largest Internet poker company, dropped 4.5 pence, or 4.1 percent, to 104.5 pence.
Carruthers worked for about 25 years at bookmaker Ladbrokes before joining Betonsports in June 2000. The company raised 54.6 million pounds in an initial public offering in July 2004 and has expanded with acquisitions as well as signups of new customers.
Mr Carruthers has been an outspoken opponent against a proposed US law banning banks and credit card companies from processing internet gambling payments.
Despite the bill winning the backing of the House of Representatives last week, he said the move would fail due to a backlog of US legislation.
US attorney Catherine Hanaway of the Eastern District of Missouri said the indictment was part of a crackdown designed to 'punish and seize the profits' of those illegally running gaming sites, she said, 'Illegal commercial gambling across state and international borders is a crime'.
The first outcome of this situation will likely be that other high profile sportsbooks owners and CEOs will adopt a much lower profile and eventually avoid travelling to the United States or transit on U.S. soil in the near future.